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Wednesday Whimsy #19

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Bonjour Mercredi! The month of July saw me focusing almost entirely on Whole 30. We'll be done with the food reintroductions tomorrow and I'm not sure what I'll do with myself. I have a recap post coming soon so check for that if it's something you're interested in hearing about.

Book
Antoine Laurain's newest US release, Smoking Kills, is out! I haven't read it YET but it's first up after I read a few advanced copies that have been piling up.

Links
I'm a big fan of Sabina Socol's column on Who What Wear. Here's her newest: A French Girl's Secrets for Looking Stylish Abroad. This does not help with my Japan travel lust one bit.
It is French Week on the Simply Luxurious Life blog.
40 Little Ways to be French
A Bookworm's Guide to Paris
A list of the best books to read before going to Paris.
Did you know that Everyday Parisian also has (actual) weekly French links? Check out her latest Links I Love.

Buy
I finally broke down and bought some mesh bags. I couldn't decide between the short handle or long, so I got both.

 Merci for reading. I hope everyone is still making the most of their summer.

Goodbye, Paris by Anstey Harris

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Goodbye, Paris is... dare I say it?

A perfectly written book*.

The story dips between past and present like the natural tides of a book should. During moments of profound loss the author uses beautiful and raw words to slide a knife into the reader and turn, just so. She takes us from utter happiness to complete loss, and there and back again, as the book goes on. It felt like everything that happened to Grace was happening to me and I read this book in two sittings in about a nine hour time span. I haven’t stayed up late to finish a book in a long time and this one has already been added to my favorites list.

*There were a few things at the end about Nadia that I wasn't crazy about, but not enough to dock any stars.

5/5 Stars

I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Whole 30 Tuna Salad

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Late one night, midway through Whole 30, I was hungry and poking around the kitchen. I didn't have a ton of food in the house but I was able to hodge-podge together a tuna salad that my husband has since requested I make again. Then ate the whole batch in one sitting for dinner.



Mix together one can of tuna, 2 chopped hard boiled eggs, 1/4 cup kraut (I used the Emerald City Flavor), 3 slices chopped bacon, about two tablespoons of Cilantro Lime Tahini Dressing, a light drizzle of olive oil, and a dusting each of pepper, dill, and celery salt to your tastes.

It has been so hot in Seattle that this is a perfect cold lunch or dinner with minimal effort. You could serve it with salad, a few cornichons, or an egg if you want even more protein. When I can eat bread again I bet it'll make a great sandwich too.

If you're curious about the cilantro lime tahini dressing and don't want to commit to the full recipe, I made a half-batch with my immersion blender the first time and it worked great. As Alex says in her post, it is extremely versatile and you can put it on, in, or next to just about anything. I just used it to top a hard boiled egg along with some salt, pepper, and green onion. Bon appétit!

Ageless Beauty the French Way by Clemence von Mueffling

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Ageless Beauty the French Way is not just another French lifestyle book. While I thoroughly enjoy most of those books out there, this one gives me what I actually want: How to care for myself the way the French do in an accessible way to me. After introducing all of these wonderful skin, hair, and body care tips, von Mueffling shares with you places she recommends (mostly in NYC) and in most cases gives suggestions on how to care for yourself at home if you don't have access or don't want to go to someone else. I loved the interviews with her mom and grandmother to see both how times have changed and what wisdom I can gain from what they have to say. As someone who does't have a role model like that to turn to, this book is invaluable. She also offers suggestions for how to care for yourself in all stages of life so this book truly appeals to everyone.

5/5 Stars

I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

A Tale of Two Murders by Heather Redmond (Early Review)

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A Tale of Two Murders is a historical fiction mystery that follows a fictional Charles Dickens as a journalist in his early twenties. After being present when a young girl falls ill and ultimately dies, he starts investigating and discovers that another girl died the same way exactly one year before. He is determined to solve these murders and he has the help of his crush, Miss Hogarth, his brother, and a several others he meets along the way.

As far as mysteries go, this was enjoyable. I feel that all conclusions were reached fairly and competently, which is usually my issue with mysteries: the answer to the big question is seemingly plucked from thin air. This book did a great job of keeping everything moving along to the end. Although, we never do find out why both girls were murdered on the same day.

I wouldn't say I'm a huge historical fiction reader but I have read a bit and this book didn't come across as completely believable for me in that regard. It could just be my lack of knowledge in this era but Miss Hogarth seemed to be a little too conveniently forward or proper to make it seem genuine. The dialogue wasn't very exciting or clever but I've read worse. I'll probably give this series another chance by reading the next book.

3/5 Stars

I was given a copy of this book via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book will be released on Tuesday, July 31st, 2018.

9 Ways to Celebrate Bastille Day

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I am currently 9 days into Whole30 so I won't be celebrating this 14 Juillet like I usually do- at a restaurant with other Francophiles, French food, and wine. Even though I'm mostly staying home for the day, I thought I'd share what I'll be up to and a few other ideas for those of you who don't want to or can't go to a Bastille Day fest. Most of these are free and can be done in the comfort of your own home. What is better?

1. Make a special meal

Pick a recipe from Chocolate and Zucchini, Pardon Your French, or Rachel Khoo. Not into French food? Make your favorite meal but be sure to have plenty of wine!


2. Watch a French Movie

A few favorites currently on Netflix: Blind Date, Call My Agent, La Mante, Suite Francaise, Amelie, Witnesses. Also try your library via Kanopy.
If you don't have time to watch a movie, how about a season of My Life in Sourdough?


3. Read a book or a blog

For a book try The Red Notebook, The Lost Vintage, or Where the Wild Cherries Grow.
For a blog try Everyday Parisian, French Girl in Seattle, Mode and the City, Paris, Meet Boston, or Ann Street Studio.

Be sure to review or comment to show your appreciation.


4. Practice French

For free try Duolingo or a free trial of Frantastique. If you're willing to spend money and commit, buy a language book, Rosetta Stone, or find a French teacher online to Skype with.


5. Go to a Farmer's Market

Since it is Saturday there is a good chance that there is a Farmer's Market happening near you. Buy those fresh veggies and pretend they're as good as they are in France. I am planning to go to my local one for the first time tomorrow. I will report back.



6. Start that skincare routine you've been meaning to

This book can start you on your skincare quest. It was written by the founder of my favorite French skincare brand, Caudalie, but you don't have to use their products to take the good advice. It was a bit of an adjustment but now I look forward to applying potions and lotions every morning and night.


7. Plan your next trip to France

Bright Lights Paris and Don't be a Tourist in Paris are the two books I recommend the most for planning a trip to Paris. See other blogs mentioned above for more great planning inspiration.


8. Go through your closet

I don't mean that you should get rid of any clothes that don't scream "FRENCH GIRL," but if going through your clothes is something you've been thinking of doing and you just happen to keep a few ideas in mind (see here and here), you're doing a great job celebrating today.


9. Walk your city

Walk outside your door, hop on a bus, or drive to your local big city to wander just like you would if you were in Paris. If you happen to pick up a box of macarons or check out a museum in your adventures, all the better.


Tomorrow I'll be drinking out of my France glass, displaying the fresh lavender I found at Trader Joe's, going to the Farmer's Market, and making a French potato salad. What Bastille Day plans do you have?


The Armored Saint by Myke Cole

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This book is about a really dumb girl who makes terrible choices that cause really bad things to happen.

It’s a shame because aside from the main character, this is a fantastic story. Well, mostly. The world and other characters are interesting but Heloise... Heloise! There is nothing good about you.

The choices she makes are so bad that if this were not a book there isn't a chance that she would have lived to age 16. All throughout the book it is mentioned how her body “betrays” her by not doing what she wants it to or doing something she doesn’t want it to. If this girl really were that separated from her body there is no way she would have made it this far in this world.

There is also an uncomfortable monologue about how “Loving is never wrong, and nothing that comes from loving can ever be wrong.” This is so untrue it is scary.

There are other parts of the book that have similar themes to political issues going on in 2018 but I feel that the way they are executed has backfired and probably has the opposite effect than the author intended.

I am very disappointed in this book and will not be reading any more in this series.

2/5 Stars